USA: teacher shot by six-year-old child sues school

A 25-year-old American teacher who was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old student in early January announced Wednesday that she would sue the school’s management. According to her, her superiors repeatedly ignored the threat from the child. Abigail Zwerner survived being shot in the chest but has to undergo further surgeries.

The young student, who was in possession of a 9mm Taurus pistol, fired a bullet that punctured Abigail Zwerner’s hand before hitting her in the chest. “This tragedy could have been completely avoided if school security officials had played their part and intervened when they became aware of imminent danger,” said Diane Toscano, the teacher’s attorney.

Three warnings ignored by management

According to statements made by Diane Toscano at a press conference held Wednesday, Abigail Zwerner and her colleagues had alerted school officials three times on the day of the incident. Those teachers at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, had reported that this CP student might be armed and threatening his classmates, Diane Toscano said. “But the school management didn’t seem to care,” she continued.

The victim claims to have alerted his management only in the morning that the young boy had threatened to hit another child. An hour later, another teacher had warned that the child had probably brought a gun to school without being able to see it in his school bag. Finally, a third teacher reported that a student had tearfully told him that he had just seen the weapon and had been threatened with it. Despite these warnings, the teachers were not allowed to search the student.

The Newport News School Board announced Wednesday night the upcoming departure of Superintendent George Parker in an “amicable” settlement. The decision was made “without reason” based solely on the “trajectory and future needs” of the school district, board President Lisa Surles-Law said in a statement, calling the official “competent.”

Parental authority withdrawn from the parents

The local authorities have decided to temporarily withdraw custody of the child from his parents and have him hospitalized, pending a decision on possible prosecution.

Given his young age, he should be considered criminally irresponsible, although police described the shooting as “intentional.” His parents, on the other hand, could be charged with violating a local law that prohibits leaving loaded guns accessible to children under 14.

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